Travel Tech: Apple AirPods First Impressions

[disclaimer: clicking on links may send you to affiliate partners who pay me a small commission should you make a purchase, thanks for your support!]

I put together a little video on the YouTube channel if you’d rather watch that (go ahead and subscribe to the channel while you’re at it!):

Anyway, the other day I was finally able to pick up a pair of the hard-to-find Newest Thing from Apple: the AirPods.

The AirPods are wireless headphones that are very similar to Apple’s legacy earpods that come with all their iPhones with a few enhancements, which I’ll get to below.

The Design

As you’d expect from Apple, the AirPods have a clean, modern design, which of course called for me to break out the macro lens and the dark acrylic for some product pics.

The AirPods come in a hard plastic case, which doubles as a charger.  When you put the airpods in their respective slots, they magnetically “clip” in with a resounding thud so you know they’re charging.

The case/charger connects via a Lightning cable (although the opening for the charger looks like it was made for a USB-C connection) and stores quite a few charges for the AirPods, which are rated before 5 hours of moderate use but recharge very quickly.

The Cool Features

  1. In-ear detection – the AirPods have accelerometers which indicate when they’re in your ear or not.  If you’re listening to music and take them out, your music is automagically paused.  When you put them back in, the music resumes.
  2. Instant pairing – the AirPods utilize Apple’s new W1 “internet of things” chip.  When you first get your Airpods, you simply open the case next to your phone, a menu pops up on your phone, and you’re instantly connected.  The entire process took about 6 seconds.
  3. Battery info – you can instantly see the battery status of the AirPods and the charger in the control center of your iPhone.
  4. Stereo mode – One of my favorite features!  If, for whatever reason, you want to use only one AirPod (which is me at the office most days, in case someone needs to get my attention for something), the AirPods will broadcast a stereo signal through that AirPod!  This is one of those little small things that make Apple’s user experience so great.

What I Don’t Like

  1. They’re tiny – I would not be surprised if I lose these at some point.  Yes, that’s more on me than it is the AirPods, but it’ll still be annoying because they’re $160.
  2. Hard plastic – I would’ve preferred a softer option for the “bud” portion of the AirPod.  It has taken some getting used to and is fine now but it led to some soreness the first few times I used them.
  3. Charging – the only way to charge the AirPods is using the case/charger.  I imagine it could be pretty easy to have the AirPods but lose the charger, so will Apple sell the charger only?  For how much?

Overall First Thoughts

I think the AirPods are a simple product executed very well.  I’ll still take my Bose QC35s for situations where I would like some noise canceling but the AirPods are perfect for walking around and general stuff at the office.  I’m not quite sure they’re worth $160 but it’s kind of the premium you pay for an Apple product.

I’m excited to see what else Apple will do with their W1 chip.  Headphones were a logical first choice for sure, it will be interesting to see what comes next!

 

What do you think?  Overpriced for early adopters like me or legitimate value?  Tell me in the comments below!

9 Comments

  1. Seeing people walking around with them, it looks like they have cigarettes in their ears – not attractive!

    Reply
    • Haha, Apple redefining attractiveness as usual.

      Reply
  2. Andy,

    Thanks for the review. I was disappointed though because there is no statement in the review about sound quality, which I would have thought should be one of the major factors in reviewing a product like this. How do you like how it sounds with music and for carrying on voice conversations?

    Trevor

    Reply
    • Sound quality is pretty good so far (I’ll do a follow-up post in a month or so after I travel with them this week). It doesn’t compare to the QC35s but then again they’re half the price. I haven’t had a voice conversation yet (I don’t really talk on the phone that much) but will definitely test that out as well.

      Reply
  3. They connect and charge via Lightning, not USB-C.

    Reply
    • Holy crap you’re right, I haven’t fully charged the case yet, it looks like the opening in the case was for a USB-C cable, I’ll update the post. Thanks for pointing it out!

      Reply
  4. I must have misshapen ears as earbuds never stay in. They will inevitably fall out and I will be out $160.

    Reply
  5. I bought these as an insurance policy. They were not an add on item at the time and I paid $9.95 and they were prime. I used them once or twice but found that I really don’t need them.

    EarLocks for Apple EarPods – Compatible with iPhone 6/6s/6+, 5/5S and 5C https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0171NVURA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_B.PPzb4J0BDVS

    Reply
  6. I got my AirPods in February while I was traveling for business in Connecticut. They kept ‘slipping’ out of my ears, so I went to Amazon and found silicone ‘ear tips.’ The ear tips were just $10.00 but made all the difference in terms of fit.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Get the latest updates daily!

You have Successfully Subscribed!